Islamists attack St. Etchmiadzin Church in Mosul -
Panorama - The jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has attacked the St. Etchmiadzin Church in Mosul, Iraq, religious leader of the Armenian community of Dohuk, Rev. Fr. Masis Shahinyan told Lradou.com.
According to preliminary reports, fire broke out near the church.
Sources at the Armenian Prelacy in Iraq said that 65 Armenian families and a priest in Mosul were forced out of the city after Islamist militants raided the city and took control of Iraq’s second largest city.
Reported estimates from Christian leaders of the Christian population in 2003 ranged from 800,000 to 1.4 million. By 2009 population estimates by Christian leaders ranged from 500,000 to 600,000. Approximately two-thirds of Christians are Chaldeans (a Nestorian uniate eastern rite of the Catholic Church), nearly one-fifth are Assyrians (Nestorian Church of the East), and the remainder are Syriacs (Eastern Orthodox), Armenians (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), Anglicans, and other Protestants. Most Assyrian Christians are in the north, and most Syriac Christians are split between Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Ninewa Province.
Christian leaders estimate that as much as 50 percent of the country's Christian population lives in Baghdad, and 30 to 40 percent lives in the north, with the largest Christian communities located in and around Mosul, Erbil, Dohuk, and Kirkuk.
The Archbishop of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese reported that 15,000 to 16,000 Armenian Christians remained in the country, primarily in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah, Kirkuk, and Mosul. Evangelical Christians reportedly number between 5,000 and 6,000. They can be found in the northern part of the country, as well as in Baghdad, with a very small number residing in Basrah.